Inspection of sprayers in use: a european sustainable strategy to reduce pesticide use in fruit crops
Sommaire de l'article
Abstract: Compulsory inspection of sprayers currently in use can be a useful measure to achieve better control of Plant Protection Products (PPP). Results from European Union (EU) members with extensive experience on this subject, new proposals frorn EU members without it, and results from a thorough survey conducted across the European Union show this initiative as one of the most reasonable and profitable in the whole pesticide application process. The average PPP use-reduction potential resulting from regular control is estimated to range from 5% to 10%. Usually the monetary savings corresponding to such reductions exceed inspection and repair costs to the user.
Even in the absence of mandatory testing, voluntary inspections are carried out in different fruit growing areas when appropriate measures are taken to enlighten the users of pesticides of the practical benefits of testing. This suggests that farmer training must be included as an aspect of inspection procedures if they are to earn the cooperation of a significant population of users across the European Union. The aim of this article is to show the importance of increasing farmers’ knowledge in all aspects of inspection – not only inspection itself, but also management and maintenance of equipment during the intervals between inspections and throughout its useful life. The author underscores the fact that more than 150 sprayers have been inspected in Spain in a coordinated effort that combined technical assessment with training of users in standards of efficiency (Best Management Practices). These inspections have been carried out with the objectives of examining the sprayers, replacing essential parts (nozzles and pressure gauge) when necessary, measuring and validating the most common selected working parameters, and, finally, improving farmer training in calibration techniques.
These types of activities, in which education and inspection have been developed, have shown that most problems associated with the application of pesticides are direct results of the improper conditions of use of the application equipment, including misadjustments of pressure, errors in travel speed, neglect of nozzle replacement, and ineffective air flow settings.
Author Keywords: inspection of sprayers; training; pesticide applications; standards; safety